Mimi V a writer, social media manager, foodie, music lover, and mum, currently residing in Sydney with Mr V, two little Vs and doggy V.
Published November 19th 2012
Strange name, strange location, great cafe
Butch Foods Cafe is oddly situated opposite a few high-rise blocks out the back of the buildings that surround RPA Hospital. I have recently driven past it a number of times and failed to notice that it was there. What drew my attention to it this time was the fact that there were people sitting on the grass directly opposite having what I first thought was a tea party. That did strike as a bit weird at 10 o'clock on a weekday morning, in not the most picturesque spot for a picnic. I then noticed the three tables and chairs that were set up, and the A-frame announcing the café's wares. I turned my head as we sped past in the car, just in time to catch a glimpse of the café itself, and was intrigued enough to go back later.
I am glad I did. Everything about Butch is incongruous. The name is incongruous with the décor, which is anything but Butch, and the whole place is incongruous with the very urban landscape it inhabits, and the large numbers of tradies that frequent it. Quite the opposite of Butch, it's the kind of place that would blend right in San Francisco (think San Fran as depicted in Amisted Maupin's Tales of the City) – it has such a boho, wholefoods vibe, complete with beaded curtain (although stopping just short of macramé plant holders) and papier-mâché chicken.
When I arrive, I am instantly taken with the homeliness of the place (there's even a fish tank to keep you company), as well as the mish-mash of the décor. I place my order at the counter and have had a good look at all the things on offer in the deli-fridge. I decide to go for a bean tortilla, as I missed breakfast and am ravenous. I think I made a good choice, the tortilla is full of rice and beans and fills the gaping hole for a good few hours. I can't seem to leave a café without a coffee, and here I am not disappointed. The large latte is in a good sized mug, and the coffee is smooth and slips down a treat. Whilst the coffee was great, I heard another order a customer order a Chai Tea and be told that it's the "real deal." I'm intrigued and will definitely try it out on a future visit, being quite partial to a good (i.e. strong and spicy) Chai myself.
As I sip my coffee I have plenty of time to drink in what's going on around me. Butch is definitely a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach. A corrugated iron clad counter runs down one side of the room, which houses the coffee machine, deli chiller cabinet (which holds a host of yummy sweet and savoury treats), the main area for ordering food and the till. I am sitting on the love seat that's built into the front window of the place, which is a little too high for the large wooden table that is in front of it. It means I'm slight precariously balanced to eat my beany treat, but I don't mind as it's a great vintage point from which to view my fellow diners, who seem to range from tradies working on the building site across the road to doctors and passing patients/visitors from the nearby hospital.
It's also a great spot to check out the rest of the decor, which is certainly an eclectic mix of knick-knacks. The tables are all large and wooden, as is the floor. The walls are adorned with shelves holding homemade banana jams (I didn't buy one, but I was certainly curious as to what they would taste like). To one side there is a fish tank, and on reflection, I can say that I have never been to a cafe that has a fish tank. That, along with the aforementioned beaded curtains that lead out to a small garden terrace (not accessible by customers), and the plants dotted here and there give the place a really homely feel. Not my home, you understand, more like the home of a kindly old aunt. I don't have a kindly old aunt, but you know what I mean.
Locally sourced food served with love @ Butch Foods Cafe
A blackboard in one corner informs me of the soup of the day, whilst a larger one on the back wall fills me in on Butch's philosophy: 'We source locally and serve with love.' I can safely say that by the time I left, I was feeling the love.